Is There Anything I Can Do to Help Myself Deal with the Stress I am Experiencing?

In many cases, the origin of the stress is something that cannot be changed immediately. Finding immediate ways to help maintain good mental health is essential. There are many ways to be proactive in dealing with stress. Some short term examples as suggested by the Canadian Mental Health Association follow:

  • Laughing is one of the easiest and best ways to reduce stress. Share a joke with a co-worker, watch a funny movie at home with some friends, read the comics, and try to see the humour in the situation.
  • Learn to relax, take several deep breaths throughout the day, or have regular stretch breaks. Stretching is simple enough to do anywhere and it only takes a few seconds
  • Take charge of your situation by taking 10 minutes at the beginning of each day to priortize and organize your day. Be realistic about what you can change. (From: Canadian Mental Health Association, “Sources of Workplace Stress” Richmond, British Columbia)
  • Using music and sound to relax

Dr. Susan M. Lark is one of the foremost authorities on women’s health issues and is the author of nine books. She has served on the faculty of Stanford University Medical School where she continues to teach in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the new Woman’s Health Promotion Unit at Stanford- one of the first women’s self-care units in the country associated with a major medical center. Dr. Lark is a noted teacher and lecturer and has been featured in magazines such as Mc Call’s, New Woman, Mademoiselle, Harper’s Bazaar, Redbook, Lear’s, Shape, and Seventeen.

Dr. Lark states “Music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies. For women with anxiety and nervous tension, she recommends slow, quiet music with some classical music. This type of music can have a pronounced beneficial effect on your physiological functions. It can slow your pulse and heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and decrease your levels of stress hormones. It promotes peace and relaxation and helps to induce sleep.

Nature sounds, such as ocean waves and rainfall, can also induce a sense of peace and relaxation”. Many of Dr. Lark’s patients keep tapes of nature sounds in their cars and at home for use when they feel more stressed. She recommends playing relaxing music often when you are aware of increased emotional and physical tension. This is important for women to note as studies show women say stress affects them more than men do (51 percent versus 43 percent) and are more likely than men to report more things that stress them out.